With the boom in the software technology, companies all over the world began to change its way of operation. For one, workplaces and lifestyle changed at a global level. This also led to the rise of innovative workplaces where people could shape their careers and also the company they worked for.
Questions like how should the ideal workplace look like? How can a company keep people happy and productive to work there? Was contemplated by Theo Schnitfink. He poured out questions about replacing strict policies with workplace philosophies that give people the freedom to make them more responsible, accountable, and motivated to do their job.
These questions found an answer in October 2008 when Schnitfink established Symphony Solutions in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Symphony Solutions provided a creative open space for those who are passionate about their job and in pursuit of constant improvement, sharing the same values and respecting personal and cultural diversity.
“COOL to work for, COOL to work with” is the mantra that the company was established on. The company is an agile driven company, delivering digital solutions to its clients. Its delivery centers are spread across several locations in Europe – Lviv, Ukraine; Skopje, Macedonia; Krakow and Rzeszow, Poland.
The Symphonian Culture
Any usual day for most Symphonians begins with a walk into a small Dutch Village that is the campus of Symphony Solutions. This includes a big windmill replica and a nice green park area with wooden picnic benches. Most intriguing are the small wooden houses that are actually meeting rooms! It’s hard to miss the Dutch-style Brown Café that is situated just across.
But that’s not all and it gets cooler. Symphonians head for a morning stretching or yoga class. And later take a steamy shower and have a warm cup of tea or coffee alongside a bowl of cereal and fruits. It may sound straight out of a fantasy, but this is a usual routine for most employees at Symphony Solutions.
Built on a foundation of trust, Symphony puts people first and aims to create the best working conditions that keep people productive and motivated. This ensures that they give their best and help grow, professionally and personally. This clearly makes Symphony Solutions an agile organization with a unique culture.
The CEO, Theo Schnitfink believes that “when you value your people, treat them with respect and provide them with the best working conditions, you become capable of attracting the right and best talent in the industry. And when you have the best talent, you can also get the best customers and projects for the company.”
Another unique and interesting aspect of Symphony Solutions workplace culture is eliminating the complex management structure and implementing a “same desk policy”. All the employees in the company including juniors, seniors, and managers all share the same working space and working conditions. The company believes in creating an environment that encourages a high degree of self-management.
To add to the list of uniqueness, Symphony Solutions has also redefined its way of hiring people. Symphony aims to hire only the top 20 percent of talent in the industry, and that is why it has a very specific and unique way of hiring new people. This includes company employees and even the clients themselves. To ensure that the new hires have the necessary technical skill and fit the company culture, Symphony uses “colleagues choose colleagues” practice.
Colleagues Choose Colleagues is where four employees conduct the cultural and technical interviews of candidates, and only after getting four “yeses”, a candidate can be hired. Once chosen, the selected employee has the discretion to choose the team members they wish to work with. This ensures a successful and strong partnership and teams can work together in a long-term harmony.
Employee Relation Management
Long-term relationships between employees and with clients are something that Symphony Solutions encourages and has also mastered in. This is why the traditional Human Resources Department is renamed to Employee Relationship Management (ERM). Since providing best working conditions and growth opportunities is essential, ERM creates strong bonds with employees. Each employee with help of the ERM team creates a Personal Development Plan that encompasses the personal and professional growth goals.
The ERM team also has 1-on-1 conversations with every employee to discuss their progress, job satisfaction, and what should be changed or improved in order to make work easier and more productive. In addition to this, the company also provides Symphony Academy. The Symphony Academy gives a chance for employees to grow and develop new soft and technical skills. It also supports taking additional courses and lessons from external providers.
The company keeps growing exponentially, and with a very low turnover of employees. The only thing slowing the expansion is the availability of talent due to the high market competition. But with the special culture, extremely fun offices, cozy atmosphere, numerous perks, and benefits, which can’t be truly described, but have to be seen in person, who could resist the chance to work there?!
Meet the Genius of Symphony Solutions
Theo Schnitfink is the CEO of Symphony Solutions. Prior to Symphony Solution, he was the NV Vice President Continental Europe at Cognizant Technology Solutions. He was also the CEO and owner of ICW Management and the BV Senior Vice President Europe at Cambridge Technology Partners. Schnitfink’s works and skills circle around Software Development and Business Analysis.
“We are not different in WHAT we do but we are different in HOW we do IT.”